Lead Generation Doesn’t Work
Yea, you read me right, lead generation doesn’t work. Oh, it is not the leads or the whether you require folks to register to see the homes or not.
Lead generation doesn’t work for the following three reasons:
1) The agents don’t know how to follow up.
2) The agents give up
3) The IDX site sucks
By now you know I am talking tongue in cheek, because I am a firm believer in lead generation. I believe that requesting your visitors to register on your site is the best way to convert those leads. Others don’t..no problem. (not the point of the post) Picking up that phone and calling them right away, connecting in a meaningful way brings the highest rate of return.
I wish I could tell you how many times we have been thanked for calling. “Thank you for calling, we have received so many emails from agents, but you are the only one who has called.” Bingo
Making the first call is not a hard sale. It is a helpful, friendly call to see if you can help with the site or their search. On my site people can put in the price, area, beds, baths etc. Many folks don’t bother to leave the price range. Our site is set up to pull and send them new listings straight from the MLS after they save a search.
The majority of the people registering click to receive new listings and price changes. However, if they don’t put in a price range they will get every new listing in the area. Ouch. Talk about email overload.
If we see they have not put in a price point in their saved search, that is the focus of the first call. We let them know they will be receiving ALL the listings, their email will be in overload and we offer to change their criteria so they can ONLY get the homes in the price range of their choice. First a simple call to be helpful.
Agents Give Up
During the first call you can easily find out how soon they need to buy, if they are just starting their search, if they are working with a Realtor, if they are just playing around, if they like Michigan football, when they plan to move etc… Regardless of their motivation now you know and you can design your follow up accordingly.
Too many agents just “forget” the person and don’t have a system for staying in touch with them. I have posted before that the problem isn’t the amount of the leads we receive it is the way we handle them. How we stay in touch until they are ready to buy or sell.
What is so different about your IDX search? Does it look different? Is it visually appealing? There are many ways to make your site appealing, a landing page, colors, lots of photos, maps, satellite images.
Having tested different sites over the years, what I found to be true is that people that register like to see what they are going to see before they put their contact information down. If your site is different and more visually appealing than what they have seen on other IDX Search sites, they are more likely to do so.
This past week three different situations came up. My daughter who is now living in Seattle and was a Buyer Agent on my TEAM for 5 years, interviewed with a company we knew was using the same IDX site as ours.
The Brokers were ready to give up, they had ONLY converted 2 leads in 5 months. Christa took a look at the back-end of their site. It took her all of 5 sec. to determine the problem, there was no follow up. The few agents that had responded it was days later. Not only that there were 530 leads sitting in their RE/MAX site that had not been followed up. Lets see approximately 5,500 people who had registered and very few followed up.
No wonder they were ready to give up. The sites fault? … or the agent’s fault?
Second, I met with a local Broker this week, of course recruiting was in the conversation but that was not the main reason for the coffee. She has just recently got into social media, came back from Inman and wanted to chat about what I was doing. I mentioned to her that when my former Broker didn’t renew our franchise in ‘05, that she had called and tried to recruit me, but that I was not going to pay a referral fee on my own listings, then or now. Their office has a lead coordinator and she calls and converts the leads then when they are ready, gives them to agent.
She too was tired of seeing the leads just sit on the site with no follow up.
Nothing wrong with having a lead coordinator, I’ve thought about it myself during moments of frustration. What she said, struck a cord with me…”I am paying out the wazoo for these leads, I am not going to have them just sit and not be followed up.”
When you invest in PPC and lead generation, there is nothing more frustrating to a Team Leader or Broker then to see that the “potential” client took the time, registered and then is not getting any personal attention.
Third, two team leaders came to me in my own office. Frustrated because their Buyer Agents were not following up. They were ready to fire them all and start over. Knowing the best leads are called right away and the second best leads are those who come back and start searching again, what’s up with this? It’s not like we are rolling in buyers in my market.
Finally, if you don’t believe in lead generation, don’t do it. It is one tool we use in reaching out to buyers and to grow our business. However, if you believe in it and see the value, then do it right…have a good IDX search, follow up in a timely manner and stay in touch.